Cost-Benefit Analysis of Electronic Information: A Case Study

Gary W. White, Gregory A. Crawford

Abstract

Library services and products have associated costs, including direct monetary costs and indirect costs such as time. The decision to acquire or provide a particular product or service should involve an examination of its costs and benefits to library customers. One technique for analyzing cost-effectiveness is to perform a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). CBA involves analyzing the benefits, or potential benefits, of offering a product or service and comparing them to the costs of offering that product or service. This article describes a study in which CBA was used to examine the cost-effectiveness of an electronic database. Librarians can use the results of CBA studies to justify budgets and acquisitions and to provide insight into the true costs of providing library services.

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